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Does S-Metolachlor Affect the Performance of Pseudomonas sp. Strain ADP as Bioaugmentation Bacterium for Atrazine-Contaminated Soils?
Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Author: Cristina A. Viegas et al.

by Cristina A. Viegas, Catarina Costa, Sandra André, Paula Viana, Rui Ribeiro, Matilde Moreira-Santos

Atrazine (ATZ) and S-metolachlor (S-MET) are two herbicides widely used, often as mixtures. The present work examined whether the presence of S-MET affects the ATZ-biodegradation activity of the bioaugmentation bacterium Pseudomonas sp. strain ADP in a crop soil. S-MET concentrations were selected for their relevance in worst-case scenarios of soil contamination by a commercial formulation containing both herbicides. At concentrations representative of application of high doses of the formulation (up to 50 µg g-1 of soil, corresponding to a dose approximately 50× higher than the recommended field dose (RD)), the presence of pure S-MET significantly affected neither bacteria survival (~107 initial viable cells g-1 of soil) nor its ATZ-mineralization activity. Consistently, biodegradation experiments, in larger soil microcosms spiked with 20× or 50×RD of the double formulation and inoculated with the bacterium, revealed ATZ to be rapidly (in up to 5 days) and extensively (>96%) removed from the soil. During the 5 days, concentration of S-MET decreased moderately to about 60% of the initial, both in inoculated and non-inoculated microcosms. Concomitantly, an accumulation of the two metabolites S-MET ethanesulfonic acid and S-MET oxanilic acid was found. Despite the dissipation of almost all the ATZ from the treated soils, the respective eluates were still highly toxic to an aquatic microalgae species, being as toxic as those from the untreated soil. We suggest that this high toxicity may be due to the S-MET and/or its metabolites remaining in the soil.